I love salads, especially when they come from vegetables I’ve bought at the local weekly farmers’ market. There’s something so summery about a salad; it’s just not the same when you eat it in January!
One of my favorites is the Cobb salad. They don’t make it in France, despite the Roquefort cheese, so I have to make it myself to satisfy my cravings, or wait till I get back to the US. I eat a lot of Cobb salads when on vacation!
A favorite French salad is the Salade NiÃ§oise, although I often always leave the anchovies out. The bonus is that my kids love this as well, seeing as it’s cleverly disguised as food, as there aren’t any lettuce leaves in it! Another delicious French summer meal is ham and melon. They drizzle alternating slices of ham and melon with vinegrate (see below) and serve on a bed of specialty lettuce like mache or roquette.
Tabouli is a great, filling, no-cook meal. You can prepare it the night before, or even in the morning of the day you will be serving it. Just remember, the longer you let it sit, the better it will taste. I like to use couscous instead of bulghar. I use one cup chopped fresh tomatoes, one cup diced cucumber, one cup chopped parsley and mint, one cup uncooked medium or coarse couscous. Mix together, drizzle with good quality olive-oil and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate, let sit overnight or at least 10 hours. Mix and salt to taste before serving. It’s a great accompaniment to barbecued chicken.
The French don’t have a wide selection of ready-made salad dressings in their grocery stores; they make their own. The most common is the vinegrate– almost every family has their own recipe. It’s so easy that my five-year-old son often helps me. Mix a forkful of good mustard with a splash of nice balsamic vinegar. Slowly drizzle olive oil in while whisking continually. Taste. Add chopped herbs or garlic if desired; I almost never do. Another, creamier, salad dressing is mayonnaise based. Mix about 1/4 cup mayonnaise with one tablespoon sugar, then add one to two tablespoons lemon juice. Mix well. The sugar cuts the acidity of the lemon juice and lets the mayonnaise really shine through.
I hear the crickets chirping outside and the sun is shining brightly after a day and night of rain. Time for me to make dinner; I’m feeling like a Cobb tonight!
What’s your favorite salad or summer evening meal?